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Revontuli

Dragon's Descent - Action/Roguelike for the 7800 (ported from the 2600)

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At this point, just more wow. 

When you think you've seen all the board layouts, all the enemies, sooner than later you're surprised with something new.

 

 

The play sample above is a 'tad' on the defense-health heavy side, but that's just another great aspect/option of the game.

There is a lot crammed into that 48K footprint, yet the game is so well balanced and a pleasure to play.

Excellent work, Revontuli.

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3 hours ago, Trebor said:

The play sample above is a 'tad' on the defense-health heavy side, but that's just another great aspect/option of the game.

Totally a valid strategy - I imagine you might go for mix of more offensive power as you gain practice and learn the maze layouts.  That said, I find "tanking" on health is still a very valid strategy even with knowledge of what's ahead.  While not powering up your fire breath means you don't have to worry about ammo when it gets dark, you -do- have to worry about tougher monsters! 

3 hours ago, Trebor said:

There is a lot crammed into that 48K footprint, yet the game is so well balanced and a pleasure to play.

Thank you! 😀  I wanted to give a player valid choices throughout the game, taking into account one's skill and tactical philosophy, be it tank, glass cannon, score hoarder, or some mix of the three.  How to balance the new encounters and features as one gets further in the game was also something I deliberated a long time on - I'm glad that all came through in the gameplay!

 

A few design/philosophy notes I was thinking about as I watched (not criticism of your game play, which was impressive, as much as my justifications for adding certain mechanics):

-The dark is sort of a "hurry up," a soft time limit partially to make sure people don't camp on a level to farm points, and partially to keep things interesting. :evil:  If you're stuck in it and start panicking, remember it goes away if you manage to get to a new level.

-I admit the dark can very nasty in a new, unfamiliar level, but the levels are persistent and can remembered or mapped.  Even selecting "random" levels will give you their seed number so you can play them again if you want, and their room layout will be the same if you do.  

-While you didn't go this route in the video, I added limited ammo for stronger fire breath to give folks another reason to hunt enemies (they can drop ammo as well as health on occasion), while making sure players are careful with the power they gain.  You still have your starting fire breath if you run out, but you'll likely encounter scenarios where you really miss that extra punch.  And there's always that next treasure room to work your way back up...

-As a designer, I wanted to give players a reason to continue to delve deeper into the maze - Things like the dark, the higher scoring enemies, the one-treasure-room-per-level, all were meant toward that goal.

 

Awesome video - it's great (and helpful!) to see a full-length session like that, thank you for posting!

Edited by Revontuli
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I just discovered this thanks to Trebor posting footage on YT. Didn't know about the 2600 version, but now I'll be waiting for the 7800 cart release. This looks fantastic!

 

What I really like about this project is seeing a game make the jump from the 2600 > 7800. I really wish that more games had done that (Adventure, Yars' Revenge, Haunted House, River Raid, Pitfall II, etc.) to take advantage of the hardware. 

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3 hours ago, gambler172 said:

checked the game with my savekey...

it works great

Awesome!  I currently don't have the hardware to test the saving, so this helps a lot!

2 hours ago, Shaggy the Atarian said:

What I really like about this project is seeing a game make the jump from the 2600 > 7800.

With Batari Basic and 7800Basic it was pretty straightforward!  Mechanically, the games are nearly identical, down to much of the code.  While I like the 7800's specs, being in that interesting transitional phase of hardware, 7800Basic gave me the impetus to actually start coding for it.  Porting an existing project also gave me a good excuse to learn without starting a whole new game from scratch.

 

What would people recommend for testing the game on actual 7800 hardware?  My Harmony cart serves me well in developing for the 2600, but I'm not sure what the best 7800 equivalent would be.  It sounds like there are a few devices that are comparable, but each has their quirks and most are hard to find nowadays. 

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Was funny  to watch when Trebor finished the dark time out and got to the next stage and fired the whole time thinking it would go dark.. 😂😂

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5 hours ago, Revontuli said:

Awesome!  I currently don't have the hardware to test the saving, so this helps a lot!

With Batari Basic and 7800Basic it was pretty straightforward!  Mechanically, the games are nearly identical, down to much of the code.  While I like the 7800's specs, being in that interesting transitional phase of hardware, 7800Basic gave me the impetus to actually start coding for it.  Porting an existing project also gave me a good excuse to learn without starting a whole new game from scratch.

 

What would people recommend for testing the game on actual 7800 hardware?  My Harmony cart serves me well in developing for the 2600, but I'm not sure what the best 7800 equivalent would be.  It sounds like there are a few devices that are comparable, but each has their quirks and most are hard to find nowadays. 

PM cpuwiz and inquire about the DEVCART he had created. 

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52 minutes ago, Jinks said:

Was funny  to watch when Trebor finished the dark time out and got to the next stage and fired the whole time thinking it would go dark.. 😂😂

 

21 hours ago, Revontuli said:

...remember it goes away if you manage to get to a new level...

 

LOL, I didn't realize that is the impression a portion of the video provided (Seemingly, I didn't know the darkness stops after level advancing).  Truth be told, it was a coincidence of sorts.  A few times while playing, I contemplate holding down the fire button as it is continuous firing against enemies.  Not surprisingly, when the darkness occurs is when it makes me lean more towards rapid/constant fire may be an advantage over more controlled shots, as I'm forced to do it during the darkness.

 

I start thinking though, it distracts too much (I really do like the background/theme melody), and there really is not much difference between constant firing and more controlled shots, as the enemy attack is not 'robotron/smash tv' in nature...but then, I think how the enemies require multiple hits, so it might be better afterall...then back to - that melody *needs* to be heard dominantly. Oh, the dilemma.

 

I blame Revontuli.  The game could have no background melody or crappy TIA sound, but nooo...has to go off providing some TIA sound magic. 😜😀

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2 hours ago, Trebor said:

A few times while playing, I contemplate holding down the fire button as it is continuous firing against enemies.

This was one of the reasons I added ammo to higher levels of firepower - I found myself simply holding down the fire button at one point in testing, and realized I had no reason let go of it.  The thing is that I like the autofire rhythm/fire rate that's there, but to me there should also be a reason to -not- fire, under at least some circumstances. 😄 

 

2 hours ago, Trebor said:

The game could have no background melody or crappy TIA sound, but nooo...

I'm really glad people seem to like the music/sound - I wasn't sure I'd be able to pull something off with the TIA. 

 

A lot of the credit goes to the music tracker included with 7800Basic - the tracker and sound system took care of a lot of stuff like sound priorities and pitch tables that are otherwise hard to get right or are a pain to code on your own.  While the 7800 has the same sound chip as the 2600, you tend to have more space in ROM and cycles to play with, and that makes a lot of difference.

 

The musical pieces I used are different public domain tunes I found and then arranged for TIA - For now I'll leave folks to guess what they might be...it might be a strange listening experience once you know what the tune originally was.  While the tunes I chose are somewhat thematically appropriate, they were chosen more for sounding decent after being transcribed (you should hear what's on the cutting room floor...)

 

I'll admit some folks have done amazing musical arrangement with TIA's various voices, but for my part (and limited musical skill) I really only like using voices 4 and 12 - the best voices for pitch range and the closest the TIA has to standard musical notes.  I then added an echo to the notes - that, combined with the musical tracker's priority system means you can often hear "chords," and the echo seems to help "smooth" the hard edges you might get just using a pure tone.  It's the chiptune equivalent to singing in the shower!

 

As much as I dig on the TIA, I actually like its interface in its ultimate simplicity, you can do some cool stuff with it.  To put things in perspective, I started programming on an Apple ][, where all I could do was click the speaker!

 

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16 hours ago, Jinks said:

PM cpuwiz and inquire about the DEVCART he had created. 

Cuttle cart 2 works well,but hard to find

Mattheos Carts also till 128k games,also hard to find

Concerto works till 128k games,with small problems by some games,same problem to find one

and my very special multicart,not released,works great too,

but a friend made only one for me 😁

 

hope this helps

and for developers,CPUWIZ devcart works very well

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